The population of China was almost a quarter of the world population according to the 1910 census. The Chinese Civil War that occurred in 1927-27 and 1946-49 is one of the factors that led to a large number of people of Chinese origin to spread around the world. The migrations are considered to be among the largest that has ever been seen in China’s history. It is worth noting that a majority of these emigrants settled in present day Indonesia, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Still wondering why there are a lot of people of Chinese origin dispersed all over the world, also known as overseas Chinese? Well, it is pretty simple. The age of colonialism in the 19th Century, and presently the increasing number of economic ties between the People’s Republic of China and interested countries are other reasons why there are so many Chinese businessmen, technocrats, and expatriates all over the world. During the colonial era, a large number of laborers were required to carry out dangerous tasks associated with railway construction and gold mining in parts of Australasia and North America.
It should be understood that during this era of colonialism, many colonies around the world experienced a shortage of laborers. The Chinese descendants having been born in a country endowed with fresh water rivers and fertile soils were healthy due to their early engagement in agriculture.
Colonialism and Overseas Chinese
With the shortage of laborers biting hard, The Qing Empire, which was by then in charge of the administration of the Chinese people, was forced to allow its subjects to work overseas under colonial powers. The mid-19th century period saw an increase in the influx of Chinese descendants to Western countries i.e. the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, and other nations found in parts of Western Europe.
Some Chinese found their way into Panama and Peru where they are referred to as the tusan. To a lesser extent, some Chinese went to Mexico in this era.
Hong Kong was Technically Under British Rule Until the 1980s
In the 1980’s, Great Britain willfully agreed to transfer Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China and as a consequence, this move caused a trigger which resulted in another wave of migration by the Chinese descendants to the UK, Canada, United States of America, Latin America, Australia, and other parts of the world.
Presently, the Chinese have been migrating to Africa, largely due to the growth potential that exists in this continent. There has also been a paradigm shift among the leaders of the African nations, and this has greatly contributed to a large number of Chinese business people moving to the continent. A good number of these African leaders have started to shun the aid received from the Western nations. Why not look to the East? This has been a burning question that has for long been deeply engraved in their minds. For a country’s people to prosper, their education system needs to prepare them to be able to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing world.
China’s Long History of Valuing Education
The education system in China is challenging and many parents encourage their children to study hard. ”The nation that educates its children the best will be the nation that leads the global economy in the 21st century.” This statement was made by US President Barrack Obama shortly after taking the reigns of power in light of the realization of the strides made in China regarding their efficient education system.
China has been known to produce experts in the fields of technology, engineering, commerce, and construction. The presence of cheap labor costs in China has seen companies from other countries set up their factories in China. For example, Samsung is a South Korean Tech company however, the mobile parts are manufactured and assembled in China due to the cheap labor cost.
Education and GDP
This has contributed immensely to China’s improved GDP and a sustainable economic growth rate. Which has, in turn, led to an increase in the number of rich Chinese business people, especially millionaires who intend to emigrate. Close to 60% of these emigrants intend to migrate to North America according to a recent study. This adds to the already large number of Chinese businessmen who are found around the world. Moreover, the Chinese are always looking for new ways of doing things, and this explains why they are a force to reckon with in all aspects of the economy, such as technology, infrastructure, business, health and engineering.
Chinese are after businesses which are brought about by their inventions. What is interesting about the Chinese is that they are fast followers. They look at things and try to find new ways of making it work better. They also search for new ways of complementing things in order to achieve efficiency. As a result, they always seem to be ahead, yet in a real sense, they are fast followers.
Out with the Colonizers in Africa and in with the Chinese?
On the flip side, a large number of infrastructure projects in Africa are funded and executed by the Chinese experts. Large Multinational Companies from China approach African governments with the intention of helping them improve their infrastructure and other social amenities The Chinese businessmen accompany the experts to these countries to look for new opportunities that favor their business expansion.
The Chinese value guanxi, which when translated into English means relationships as one of the key pillars required in expanding their businesses. They understand that relationships take a long time to build. Besides formal business meetings, these businessmen spend additional time to get to know their business counterparts during the usual tea sessions and dinner banquets. Relationships build trust. Successful businesses are also built on trust. That is why the Chinese businessmen are found in many countries all over the world.